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IBM, Cognos Shares Rise on $5 Billion Acquisition

IBM said Monday it plans to buy Cognos for $5 billion in cash, a deal that could help it keep pace with rivals in "business intelligence" software.

Cognos shares rose 8 percent in Monday trading on the Nasdaq.

IBM shares rose 2.74 percent on the New York Stock Exchange.

The acquisition would follow similar moves in the same market this year.

Software giant SAP recently linked up with Business Objects, and Oracle grabbed Hyperion Solutions. Cognos shares had soared recently on expectations that it, too, would be acquired.

Business-intelligence software helps big organizations gather and analyze data for such complex tasks as modeling the financial impact of strategic decisions or making staffing changes.

IBM has been on an acquisition tear in recent years to build out its software portfolio and improve the company's overall profit margins.

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Steve Mills, the head of IBM's software group, said acquiring Cognos -- which already had a business partnership with IBM -- was not inspired by rivals' deals.

"We never do acquisitions on defensive moves or based on what others are doing," Mills said in an interview.

IBM is offering to pay $58 per share in cash for Ottawa-based Cognos, a 9 percent premium over Cognos' $52.98 closing price on Friday. Cognos was trading in the mid-$40s before SAP's $7 billion proposal for Business Objects was announced in October, accelerating expectations for consolidation in business-intelligence software.

IBM said Cognos' portfolio will fit in its information management software division. Cognos CEO Rob Ashe is expected to remain and report to the group's head, Ambuj Goyal, after the deal is completed in the first quarter of 2008.

Cognos has 4,000 employees worldwide; its headquarters are located in Burlington, Mass.

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